by Emma Mangione
The Harrington School will soon be home to a $1.2 million state-of-the-art television studio and broadcast center in Chafee Social Science Center.
The TV Studio’s location and square footage will remain the same, but the design and equipment will be upgraded.The changes include a fully robotic camera, an industry-standard audio board, new cameras, lights, audio equipment and a brand-new news set.
In preparation for the broadcast center, the Harrington School has hired Jeff Fountain as manager, a highly experienced director, producer, shooter, and editor. Fountain will hold the title of Broadcast Center and Video Production Engineer as well as manager.
Fountain is working with program directors in the Harrington School to help design the new studio. His experience building and managing professional studios will give the studio the professional look the school is striving to achieve.
Fountain is coming to URI from a job with Walepole Media Corp., where he built and managed a studio that was funded by Comcast and Verizon. He expressed his excitement to get started in his full-time position as studio manager and soon-to-be professor.
“I’m excited about sharing some of my professional experience with students who want to learn,” Fountain said.
Construction on the studio has not yet started but Fountain states that it will be ready for the Spring 2019 semester. The studio’s opening will come just in time to launch a new course at the university, taught by Fountain. The course is coded as FLM 220: Topics in Intermediate Film Production, and meets Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“It will be a formal class, Intro To Studio TV,” says Fountain. “It will cover camera use, lighting, audio, set design, blocking and everything.”
Fountain is most looking forward to having students get their hands on the new gear and engage in hands-on learning in the studio. His goal is to simulate a real-world experience in the studio.
Fountain also needs a staff to help him run the studio, and he is looking to hire students to fill several positions.
“The goal is to hire students that want to be trained in production after taking the course,” said Fountain. “They’ll be trained by me and then they’ll be running the studio with me.”
Previously, Fountain has trained employees how to run a TV studio, but in a much more fast-paced environment. He is excited to be able to take that experience and teach a younger generation in a lower-stress environment.
“Above the studio door I want it to say ‘be creative and have fun,’” Fountain said.
Fountain wants students to create content they are excited about and looks as though it has come out of a professional studio not a university.
Once the renovated studio opens, students will be able to block out studio time and request the help of Fountain’s staff. Then, students will be able to make any type of content they want and leave with the footage they shot in-studio.
Fountain is encouraging students to reach out with content ideas.
“Everyone’s input is welcome,” Fountain said. “I want to hear from students.”